Friday, October 24, 2014

food for 24!

this is food for 24 people for 2 days. wow!

we are headed out for the weekend. camping with 3 other families. the weather is supposed to be perefect. the fellowship WILL be perfect (we ADORE each of these families!) and hopefully the food will be perfect :/

camping isn't my MOST favorite activity. but the rest of my family loves it, so i'm choosing to embrace it and have fun!

we know them by name.

and face. and voice. and personality.

these are the prayer cards that our church made for Pastor Francois' kids in haiti. most people picked up one...or two. one little boy did take the time to pick one of every single kid. :)

we have one of each. and hung them on a door by our kitchen. our kids already "know" so many of them. they ask us to tell a story about one and we do. and they never forget. they have "favorites" and questions they want to ask certain kids. bailey has spent the most time studying them...by far.

we will take one card down each night and pray specifically for that child. it is already an outdated list. we have since heard from Pastor that he has added 2 more children.

we were only there for 5 days. i am amazed how deeply these kids worked their way into our hearts, our home and our family. i welcome them gladly...to all of the above :-)

" I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, 
I always pray with joy..." Philippians 1:3-4

Thursday, October 23, 2014

thought of

when the kids got home from school yesterday, i had a pile of library books that i had picked out for each of them ready and waiting. it was a spontaneous act on my part. i had a book to pick up for myself at the library and 10 extra minutes...so i let lincoln and levi pick books while i picked books for the other kids.

but their reactions when they got home told me it was something special. to have been thought of while we were apart. to be known well enough for someone to pick things they would like. as i showed each of them their pile, they looked me in my eyes and their smiles said, "wow. i am loved."

it was free and easy and brought ME joy. and i had no idea how far it would go in their hearts! and into our afternoon and evening! they read off and on ALL day!

Monday, October 20, 2014

tension

it has been a constant state of tension in my mind and heart since we've been back from haiti.

my words aren't flowing easily here in this place. but i want to remember these days...the processing of this tension.

this is going to be a whole lotta pics from the last couple weeks and a whole lotta thoughts from all over the place :-)

2 weeks ago we were just arriving home. the first few days i was thinking about those children in haiti constantly. every minute. i could see their smiles and hear their voices. i'm already thinking about them less (still ALL the time but...) and it makes me sad. but i also have kids right in front of me that NEED me. bailey, in particular, is screaming for attention these days and i will do all i can to meet her hurting heart where it is. see? TENSION.

{in the midst of our crazy mornings, do crazy hairstyles isn't easy. but i made it happen. and she loved it.}
i taught levi how to play Uno. and he totally got it! and it made me wonder, "have i EVER played a game with JUST him?!?" ugh. i yearn to help those kids that had never played Memory before at the age of 16...but i have one hear that needs me, too! TENSION.
this was the scene in my kitchen the other afternoon around 4:30 pm. all 6 kids were home. some were in the basement playing football, one was in her room practicing guitar, one was at the computer doing homework. after so many years of them being ON TOP OF ME, they aren't anymore. they just aren't. and i don't really miss it. i mean, i LOVE holding a sweet baby, but this is a precious stage, too! they can entertain themselves. i'm always in this space...in the kitchen...and they come in and out constantly and i'm GLAD to help and listen as they do. but making dinner in peace with the sweet noises of them from a distance all over the house is pretty great! {and dangerous...because then my mind has time to THINK...TENSION!}
this girl. i ADORE her. teenagers are great so far {but i think she is spoiling us...}
ah...no tension here. just TRUE friendship. one that has chosen to love me through some of my pretty ugly moments. so thankful for her!
rebekah asked for a fun hairstyle :-)

ALL our sports were cancelled one evening last week...so we took a walk to a new (to us) trail/creek.


i LOVE watching them in settings like this. they just do their thing. work together. make a plan. move stuff around. make bridges. make up games. it's amazing.


and then you look up to a moment that takes your breath away.
this past friday dawned beautiful and warmed up to a sunny, 70* afternoon. it was incredible and my mood was lifted HIGH. i sat in the backyard in the sun for a whole 15 minutes. just soaking it UP! it was incredible.
lincoln, sawyer and levi cleaning the porch. everyone has some new chores for the fall. :-)
friday afternoon wasn't technically a "friend friday" but it kinda morphed into one. which made me happy. i said lots of "yes's" (can i ask ____ to come over? can i paint my pumpkin? can he stay for dinner? can we go on a bike ride?) and it was awesome for all of us.


anxiously waiting for dinner to finish cooking
and the afternoon ushered in the evening with THIS.
friday night lights :-)

my parents came to the game. my dad helping bailey do cartwheels...


saturday evening. grilled pizza. duck dynasty. all of us together. perfection.
sunday morning i got to get together with a friend that lives too far away. we made GOOD use of our hour together!
then at church, pat and pete got to share about our trip to haiti! pat did NOT like this part...but we got to talk to a lot of people after the services and that part was fun for us.
we are so thankful for our church and the support of everyone there for our friends in haiti. they decided to do "operation christmas child" boxes for the kids we visited! we had cards out for that...and they ALL got taken after the first service!
i have struggled in the new routine this school year. i know what i am doing is RIGHT. and i do it out of obedience. and even act like i'm happy about it, but my heart tells me the truth. i don't believe that life is about "being happy" or that it's even something we should strive for. but it's been a walk of obedience to get up each day and do something that, honestly, i'm not happy about.

it's such a TENSION. because i truly enjoy the teaching part. i am a teacher. it makes me feel alive. but there is so much behind the fact that i'm sitting there teaching them every morning that gets my heart all jacked up. and most days that jacked up heart wins and i just walk through it in obedience. but today i ENJOYED it. every moment. every bit. the sun was streaming through the windows. we learned and laughed and it was just GOOD. i was so thankful for those hours!

i saw this version of Hebrews 6:15 this past weekend, and have decided it's my heart's cry for this year in this place with these 2...

"And so it was that she, having waited long and endured patiently, 
realized and obtained what God had promised."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

my idea of rest

as i've said, we truly try to observe the sabbath by resting.
but "resting" doesn't always mean naps :-)

i've wanted to play with my blog header, layout, etc for a LONG time.

i finally allowed myself to ignore all lists and "to-do's" and the week ahead (and my children :/) for a couple hours today and updated things around here. it was so fun for me and i love it! click around and see what's new! (i hadn't updated the "about" page in 3 years...it was HARD to replace the pictures of baby sawyer and baby levi!)

i'm not sure i'll leave the layout like it is.

but i LOVE the new header...especially as it's going to be for REAL cold tonight - argh! that header is going to get me through this winter :-)

Friday, October 17, 2014

thank YOU

i wanted a separate post for this because i didn't want it to get lost in the longestpostever about our haiti trip.

THANK YOU for YOUR part in blessing these children and pastor francois and his whole community! you prayed for us ( i can't tell you how NEAR your prayers felt to us. we felt them big time!). you gave money for us to buy what we needed. you dropped clothes off at my house and ordered them online to be mailed to me and bought them with your own precious hands and mailed them to me.

as i handed each child their outfit, i drew them close. i hugged them HARD. and i prayed for them...that they would know in their precious hearts that they are LOVED and KNOWN. but i also prayed for YOU...the ones that sent us...that YOU would know the blessing you were to me and our team AND that community AND that YOU would know you are LOVED and KNOWN through the whole process of this trip and your joining us in it. because of you, we had a special outfit for EACH child there.

THANK YOU!!!

2 hour increments

i'm not sure when i'll get used to it. but after living in 2 hour increments with babies and toddlers (naps, feedings, etc) for SO many years, i am still AMAZED when we leave the house...and 4 or 5 hours later arrive back home and everyone is still smiling.

AND we haven't had to stop to eat or drink, either! (and if they've had to go to the bathroom, i didn't have to deal with it!)

those of you with small children, it WILL end one day! and this part will be so nice.

{there are parts of having just babies/toddlers that i miss GREATLY...enjoy those years. they are so sweet!}